The Comfort of Strangers Essay

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The Comfort of Strangers Commentary In the excerpt from The Comfort of Strangers, Ian McEwan uses diction, syntax, characters and mood to explore the encounters and naivety of a young boy named Robert. As he is left at home by his parents with his two sisters, Eva and Maria, Robert experiences different feelings ranging from pure excitement to confusion, ending with tension and intimidation. From the detailed account being told from the perspective of Robert, a young boy, McEwan highlights the confusion felt by him through the utilization of diction as the passage is filled with short and precise sentences. Apart from the straight-to-the-point sentences, Robert’s description of his sister’s actions displays the awkwardness felt as he is not fitting in through phrases like “they pulled their hairs from their eyebrows,” and also when his sisters “told [him] to shut [his] eyes while they took off their white socks and put on stockings from [his] mother’s drawer”. It is normal for a boy to not know things related to girls such as makeup and fashion which explains why Robert “was shocked because [they] were not his sisters, [they] were American film stars,” after the their transformation. This story also takes place in the late 1900s, and at that time it is not a usual thing for teenage girls to be wearing stockings dressing like older women, and boys also shouldn’t be looking up a girl’s legs. Also, parallel sentences from the repetition of “they” in lines 4 and 5 creates a rhythm, emphasizing on his sisters’ actions and how they are occupying his ability to process all the things he is experiencing at the current time. Throughout the passage, the presence of Robert’s father is very much apparent from his dialogues but the presence of the mother is observed just through the mere mention of her belongings. McEwan’s decision of emphasizing the role of his
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